House of Tides : Fabulous Michélin starred experience, got carried away with the Tyne and place.


House of Tides

28-30 The Close

Tyne and Wear



Nestled in the busom of Newcastle’s 7 bridges lies a building that almost goes unnoticed. It lies there as a homage to the history of this northeastern town.  Newcastle is a haven for wedding parties on a weekend but under the hubbub of all things loud and brash lies the House of Tides.  This unassuming building has won :

Michelin Guide, One Michelin Star 2016, 2017

3 AA Rosettes 2015, 2016, 2017

AA UK Restaurant Of The Year 2015-2016
Sunday Times Top 100 UK Restaurants 2017


Kennie and Abbie  are owners of the House of Tides. It is a 60 cover restaurant set over 2 floors. the lower floor has original 400 year old flagstones (see photo above) whilst up stairs has oak beams open fireplace and views over the tyne. It is casual and informal yet sophisticated. Quality is in evidence with not only the decor but the food. Kenny has a passion for seasonal ingredients sourced around the northeast and manifests itself in modern dishes with an ever-changing tasting menu for both lunch and dinner.

Fabulous cocktails !!!

My self and my better half (sister and brother in law) opted for Tasting menu. Food paired with wine. An inspired choice.

1st Course

Lindesfarne Oysters , cucumber & caviar

Cavendish Ridgeview Sussex England 2014

Two things I’ve never tried lobster and oysters.  More to do with trying at their best and not the thought of a slimy sea creature going down my throat   On this night the first dish was the lindesfarne oyster. Super soft and super delicate. Something I will never forget. This was an important moment for me and the time wasn’t spoilt. It was delicious dish perfectly complemented by a fabulous sparkling wine from the South of England   Fresh and vibrant

Tasting notes

Chardonnay dominant – making it fresh and crisp with pinot noir (depth and complexity) and Pinot meunier (rustiness)  Light golden in colour with a fine mousse, aromas of citrus melon and honey. Can be drunk now but will age. (up to 4 -5 years)

2nd Course

Scallop Rhubarb & Larson Dill

Simple dishes are normally the most spectacular. And the scallop was no exception the rhubarb was just the right sweetness and the dill complemented the dish with a gentle herbaceous freshness this was finished off by a fab white burgundy

La Croix Chardonnay pouilly fuisse Domain Robert-Denogent Burgundy France 2014 –wonderful lemony nose with touches of pear and honeysuckle. Fresh fruit with a touch of minerality. You would almost feel your drinking better than you actually are!!! perfect accompaniment to the scallops. Good acidity

3rd course

Sea Bass Asparagus & Mussels

Can’t say too much about this dish – the photo says it all! . The NZ Ataware Sauvignon Blanc 2015 was a white that was full of herbaceous notes  complimented by orange zest and lime. The palate was cleansed by a crisp fresh and elegant finish – full of acidity. Top top match !

NZ SB 2015

4th Course

Lamb & Hen of the woods with lovage

Wowser! = Hen of the woods. Anyone not tried this fungus is loosing out . Not only is it soft and savoury it also has a strong flavour of pepperyness . A not so popular mushroom this “little fella’ ” almost took over the whole dish. The lamb was perfectly cooked and did not disappoint. Complemented by the mushroom and the lovage the 3 ingredients worked perfectly.

Psi Tempranillo Dominio de Pingus Rivera del Duero Spain 2012


Dark dense and silky red  blueberries and cherries. Chalky feel in the mouth with a long finish. Medium bodied with a character that nods back to the previous two years. It an understated star.

5th course

Gariguette 🍓 curry leaf 🍃

Fresh strawberries in a kind of mousse with a gentle curry leaf to take the edge of the sweetness. A great change from all the previous tasting dishes. Light and fresh

Riesling spatlese gunderloch rheinhessen Germany 🇩🇪 2015 Sweet ripe fruit mango peach an spicy fruit finish complexity of peach and tangerine – great acidity from a top vintage.

Dark chocolate 🍫 hazelnut

Very rich and very decadent  has to have a wine that competes with this richness. ordinarily i would suggest elysium from the US but in this instance a sweet red desert wine from southern france matched the dark flavours.

Grenache noir vin flux natural  Jean Marc Lafage Maury Rouillson France 2015

One thing this restaurant does is makes the whole experience unpretentious and not in the least bit stuffy. Everything is without stress and has top class table service. Even the upstairs with its wonky floor ( a sign off its originality) and simple dishes make this experience  as relaxed as you can get – even to the most nervous and inexperienced foodie. As you can see from the blog there is a lot of information that is described here that was not evident at the meal. All carefully chosen wines  (Pingus is a top winery in Spain. 2015 is a great year for Riesling in Germany and a carefully chosen sparkling  wine from England shows the care and attention that this place deserves it michelin star.

Go and Visit  !

House of Tides website

Hepple Gin – unspoilt Northumberland, carefully crafted botanicals –  just watch out for John Snow, a hobbit and Harry Potter !!

If you ever think that Northumberland is somewhere up North and somewhere cold you would be right.  If you think it’s was from a scene from “The Game of Thrones  you would be also right!   and if you thought you saw a hobbit you probably did..

One thing you can’t take away from this fabulous county – is it’s beauty   So much variation on colors and temperatures make this county one of the most enchanting. After years of being forgotten about Northumberland is in the midst of a revival.

 Not since the Duchess of Northumberland revamped Alnwick gardens has the area seen so much tourism. Alnwick Castle is also the scene of Harry Potter films. All of these places lend them selves to the natural and wild nature of Northumberland.

In the village of Hepple there lies a quiet distillery   Away from prying eyes and left to produce the most fabulous and satisfying gin you can ever make.  The operation is run and owned by Walter and the gang! (See below)

With the support of Sophie (pictured ) and Chris the chief distiller ( formally of Sipsmith)  they produce botanicals of the freshest type.

“The freshest type making machine “

Freshness of the products are preserved by this machine at the moment they are picked. Very important for super clean flavours and distinguishing the product from other gins that appear generic. Indeed these bottles ( think blue and one green) do need a rebrand. Consumers need a product that is small batch, has provenance and has less than 50 botanicals in it !!!!!
Below is the copper still ( notice the swans neck) with the Master Distiller ,Chris

A beauty if I ever saw one !

Chris with the copper still

Although it is usual in the industry to name the copper still. in Hepple they choose to name the juniper bushes   A nice touch and a nod to the careful and fragile location  in which Walter and the gang get all their botanicals from. All ingredients are picked on the estate- this bucks the trend in the industry and is a rarity. Making the taste pure and fresh.

Walter and Chris always pick green juniper as this imparts the freshness in the gin –  purple juniper (a year older ) has less character and less prominent in its flavours. As you can imagine. Most large scale producers use purple juniper 👀 for green juniper on gins.  

“Horizontal Hector”

Hector a big old beast which needs a lot of care and tenderness ( talking to him also helps! ) these bushes hold a fragile ecosystem and you can understand why the gang go to great lengths to protect the land on which they grow

The landscape doesn’t get much better than this !!!!

Image result for San Francisco World Spirits Competition



 Fresh scent of green apple, bright grapefruit and spicy juniper. underlying notes of Douglas Fir 🌲 and  blackcurrant


 fresh citrus flavours evolve into ripe cantaloupe melon 🍉 , the spicy fragrant juniper continues to coat the palate


Extremely long and this is where the juniper reveals itself further with flavours alternating between sandalwood and cedar with a notable savoury presence that complements the sweet blackcurrant  and liquorice. The sweet juiciness is maintained throughout the finish.

 Chris at one with nature and a martini 😜

Passionate guys. Passionate brand

If you want a different brand that not a generic global brand or one that stinks of cucumber then this one is for you.  It’s a breath of fresh air (sorry ! ) to see guys producing a product. Not only in the heart of where it’s produced but also so much conviction on what a fabulous gin they have produced.  This is certainly one gin to watch

Hepple gin

Music pairing. Vance joy riptide

Wylam Brewery – you’re a canny b*%%er

 Wylam Brewery

On the eternal search for a fabulous micro-brewery I seem to have stumbled on a rare gem!  With the genetics of your parents there is always history to be learned, to be unearthed and in rare instances to be forgotten. My mothers side of the family are from The Northeast (where the Tyne bridge,Jimmy Nail and Cheryl Cole all seem to have a place in every Geordie’s heart ( OK maybe not the last one!)

Beer has long since been the drink of the North and the fortunes of Newcastle Brown Ale have declined in recent years.   The advent of craft beer, however,  has seen the popularity of flavour and characteristic from beer to be evermore diverse.

source @

Wylam brewery is one such small brewery that is producing great beers, great flavours and very much ‘on trend’

Having organised a brewery tour on-line with my fiancé I was somewhat dismayed (or pleased😉) that she decided not to come at the last-minute. (Why would she ! The tour was made up of 50 people 45 men 5 women ) I asked my nephew, Tom ( an 18-year-old) if he fancied a beer tour ! – guess you know the answer! Most notably the breadth of range with the brewery will encompass the female drinkers tastes.

We made our way to the brewery  on the outskirts of Newcastle town centre and were surprised that it was situated in the leafy suburbs of Jesmond. It’s origins were in a small village west of Newcastle (Wylam) and set up by 2 guys who , I guess , wanted to make a beer that was more popular than Newcastle Brown ale ( and arguably taste better) became friends and decided they were onto something. It became so popular that the premises had to be moved

Now The current owner Dave (see below)


presides over this brewery and is a very passionate and engaging guy. It’s a pleasure to see the owner of the company take the tour and interact with every person.

Having turned up with the nephew we were shown around the brewing area and sampled some Citra hops. Citra hops are prominent hops used to promote , as you would imagine, citrus flavours   A very good exercise for the tasting later

source @

Having seen the tour of the brewery we were shown to the tasting areas.  You have not seen so many smiles on so many men’s faces. Like children in a sweet shop   Dave and the chief brew-master talked us through four beers 2 on draught and 2 on cask


1st  Collingwood Pale Ale – honey in flavour with a slight orange/ tangerine aroma citrus and pinewood on the palate

music pairing -Miles Davis  A kind of blue


007 –  stone fruit and gooseberry sherbet  yum yum

music pairing  -think crazy rock group pairings


Jakehead IPA –  rocket fuel IPA rich bright and lots of hoppiness  bittersweet with complex hop characteristics

Music pairing Robbie williams  mixed with troubled mind of Jim Morrison


Redkite –  ruby ale rich and malty.  Think Jamie Cullum

So one thing I loved about this new brewery was all the flavours from all the beers were different and exciting.  I’m not even a beer nerd but it was their attitude to the consumers and the branding that made this discovery exciting. All the guys were engaging, were very passionate and were very determined in the direction of the brewery in the marketplace.

They want to service the northeast and to grow that market   And I like that …  They grow their market and also keep themselves a craft brew company.  A prerequisite in my mind of a very loyal following. Very canny !

On top of that. They just can’t get any cooler

Wylam brewery